David Krakauer’s Klezma Madness

David Krakauer’s Klezma Madness

The Twelve Tribes

Label Bleu

You’ve all hung out at Klezma bars and held up lighters at Klezma fests, so you’re basically familiar with this bouncy style of Jewish folk music. And if you not, just imaging the stuff the play in Greek restaurants, only sung in Polish. And with that backdrop, you will find this disk quite a shock. While traditional Klezma has a classic folk music sound, reminiscent of dirndl skirts and men dancing in embroidered shirts, Krakauer’s music is set squarely in the New York Way “Too Cool For Daylight” jazz sound. Over a muted background of drum and accordion, bass and shofer, and sometimes supported with a vocal that’s more an afterthought than the main event, Krakauer plays a weird snaky clarinet that is the prime reason to grab this obscure French import. “Tribe Number Thirteen” jumps right into the groove, mixing the clarinet, bass and whatever else sounds kosher into a tight and catchy mix that does NOT remind one of a milk bar. But, by the second tune the Judaic sound surfaces for a bit of air with “The Kozatzke / Der Ziser,” wedding favorites for hundreds of years. That’s the pace throughout the album, some traditions warped by a modern sound sensibility, and some very outlandish tone sequences that somehow tie back to the traditional, although you might need ten or so listens to figure out the joke. And speaking of jokes, a little TV theme music creeps into the heart of cut number nine, “Television Frailachs.” Bet you didn’t know the Munsters theme was a traditional song, sung round the fire in the shetl back in Minsk. Still, it’s the wild jazz sensibility that should drive you to seek out this record, jazz in a style showing the only original American art form is still strong and vibrant, just wandering a little deeper into he woods of experimentalism. I hope it wore a warm coat and gives us a call on Sundays.

Label Bleu: http://www.label-bleu.com

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